How to Get a Dog to Quit Digging

by Naomi Millburn
Gain control over your doggie's nonstop digging habit.

Gain control over your doggie's nonstop digging habit.

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Although your dog's digging habit may be turning your yard into an unsightly disaster area, don't be too surprised by it. The behavior is only natural for many canines. Remember, the furry creatures are related to wolves and foxes, both of whom create dens for bringing up their young offspring.

Step 1

Consider whether your dog may be digging for temperature control. Canines often dig into the ground as a way to find a spot that is either warmer or cooler to stay. If you think that this may be the case with your doggie, try to make her feel more comfortable, whether you set up a mini doggie house with insulation, provide warm blankets, install a fan or even introduce a shallow children's swimming pool. Provide your doggie with cooling and warming options that aren't related to digging into the dirt.

Step 2

Think about the possibility of separation anxiety. Separation anxiety is a major cause behind frustrating doggie digging. If a pooch is feeling lonely or neglected, she may turn to digging the yard as a means to "get to" whomever is away from her. In these situations, changing your pet's attitude toward being home alone may be the way to go. Before you leave your home, try to create a "happy" connection to the situation for your poor doggie. For example, give her a toy that is packed full with a hidden and delicious frozen banana. It will take the little one some time to get the yummy stuff out, and may even take her mind off your exit.

Step 3

Quell your dog's boredom. Classic boredom may be the culprit behind your dog's backyard destruction campaign. If your dog is digging simply as a way of entertaining herself, redirect her focus. Invest in a few exciting new interactive toys that may take her interest away from digging. Spend more quality time with your bored pup, whether you go on extended nightly walks in the park with her or show her a few tricks. Physical fitness is key to minimizing destructive patterns, whether digging or chewing on inappropriate things. Boredom-induced digging is especially prevalent in terrier breeds, as these canines were bred to get their paws into the soil.

Step 4

Purchase a doggie bed for your pet. The digging problem may be as easy as your dog wanting a comfy place to relax. Find a soft and comfortable doggie bed for your pet to lay her body down that is big -- or small -- enough to accommodate her specific body size.

Step 5

Create a digging pit. When your dog's digging behavior is an instinctive action that is associated with her ancestors, it may be a way of finding a place to conceal a valuable item, whether food, bones or toys. If this is the situation with your pet, establish a designated digging section in your yard for these purposes. Outline it with large rocks to make the section obvious to your pet. Put some sand in the pit, and then pique your pup's interest by placing some of her preferred toys there, just under the sand. As soon as your curious doggie pulls up a concealed toy, praise or give her a yummy treat on the spot. The point is to get her to dig there -- and only there!

Items You Will Need

  • Fan
  • Blankets
  • Insulated doggie home
  • Shallow pool
  • Rocks
  • Sand
  • Dog toys
  • Dog bed

Tip

  • If you can't seem to get a handle on your dog's digging no matter what you do, speak to your veterinarian about a qualified canine trainer in your area. An animal behavioral expert may be able to give your pet the help and guidance she needs.

Photo Credits

  • Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images

About the Author

Naomi Millburn has been a freelance writer since 2011. Her areas of writing expertise include arts and crafts, literature, linguistics, traveling, fashion and European and East Asian cultures. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in American literature from Aoyama Gakuin University in Tokyo.

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